Deceased December 20, 2017

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In Memory

Jim Shook died Dec. 20, 2017, after a short bout with cancer. He and I shared many interests during our senior year and then shared an apartment in Cambridge, Mass., while we took a break from academia and attempted to transition into the “real world.” My lasting gift from Jim is that he introduced me to a friend from work at Widener Library, the woman who became my wife, Stephanie Daniels.

Tom Smith ’71 writes: “Jim Shook came to Amherst with his ideas, personality and tastes already fully formed, or so it seemed. He enjoyed absurdities, and a lot of them came his way. He was a fount of esoteric information about art and books. In Intro to Geology, when Professor Foose explained the theory of continental drift, we looked at each other as if to say, ‘Of course. How could it be otherwise?’ We thought Foose’s skepticism of the theory dunderheaded.”

After graduation, Jim moved to Cambridge and lived there for most of his adult life. His career path included teaching at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and at Harvard. Jim worked in animation and computer graphics in the Boston area as well.

One of Jim’s greatest pleasures and passions in life was world travel. He self-published several photography books inspired by his travels. Iceland was of particular interest, although he traveled the globe, and his ashes will be scattered there. He was committed to social justice and environmental causes and held a deep and abiding respect for all people. 

In later years, Jim moved to a farmhouse built in 1800 in Bennington County, Vermont. He was also an avid gardener, raising organic vegetables. His sister Pat lovingly called him the “quinoa kid.”

Thomas Hoadley ’71